Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Gospel solves three major problems

Ephesians 2:5 "even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)"

How the Gospel addresses man's three-fold dilemma
In the Gospel I find that when I am born into this world, there are three sets of issues that are all interrelated and of which I cannot solve on my own: I'm spiritually dead to God, I'm legally guilty before God and I'm relationally alienated from God.  What the Gospel tells me is that upon the heels of the Spirit's work in my heart through saving faith, the glorious Gospel delivers the following Goodnews:

Man's Spiritual Deadness - Solved by Regeneration
The first issue of man's spiritual deadness is the most damaging of the three - since man is utterly dead in his tresspasses and sins.  For the past several days we have been looking at the truth of the New Birth, and how man must be born again.  In the doctrine of the New Birth, God addresses my spiritual deadness by bringing to me resurrection life.  Mankind is not merely a sick patient in a hospital needing an injection of moral improvement, nor is he merely an ignorant man in need of enlightenment, rather man is a corpse in need of a resurrection.  Jesus states in John 5:24-25 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. 25“Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.

Regeneration, or the New Birth, comes from God, brings with it the necessary change of heart and includes faith and repentance.  We can view salvation from three angles, one of which is this supernatural angle - whereby a man or woman dead in their trespasses and sins is raised from darkness to light, from death unto life.  This first problem is solved.  But notice also another problem that is simultaneously solved all at once  by the Gospel.

Man's legal guilt - solved by Justification
Man upon receiving the New Birth by grace through faith is declared legally right with God by what the Bible terms "justification".  Romans 1-3 spells out in detail all of the legal problems sinful man has before Holy God.  In three Divine courtrooms man is guilty in the eyes of God.  The first courtroom is that of creation - wherein mankind's guilt is declared universally in creation. (Romans 1:18-31)  Then in the courtroom of the conscience, man knows deep down inside what his heart confirms - that he is not right before God, and that no amount of right living will make him clean. (Romans 2)  Then the courtroom of God's law makes the final declaration - man is a lawbreaker, worthy of death. Romans 3) 

To compound things further, man had inherited the guilt and condemnation of Adam's Sin, which came as a result of the Fall. (Romans 5).  What is man to do?  There is nothing he can do.  But thanks be to God what man could not do, One Perfect man did - Christ.  He alone lived the perfect life  demanded by creation, the conscience and God's law.  Furthermore, Christ died the death also demanded by all three.  As a result, when you and I by faith trust in what Christ accomplished, God credits us with His life and death - as if we lived perfectly and paid the price of justice. 

 Romans 4:25-5:1 states - "He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification. 5:1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."

So what the Gospel does is tell us that by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, my spiritual deadness to God is solved by regeneration and my legal guilty before God is solved by justification.  But what about my relational alienation from God?

Man's Relational Alienation - solved by adoption
Ephesians 2:12 states - remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.  Outside of saving faith in Jesus Christ, the profound alienation from God cannot be bridged.  What the scripture teaches is that in the grace of adoption, the formerly dead, guilty and alienated sinner is by grace through faith made alive, declared innocent and deemed a son. 

Romans 8:16-17 states - "The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.Galatians 4:7 "Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God. "

Thus the Gospel is truly Good news.  In it, by grace through faith, I'm raised from death to life in regeneration, transferred from guilt to innocence in justification and termed a son by way of adoption.  Three issues gloriously solved by One Grand Message -the Gospel, which credits it all to One Grand Person - Jesus Christ. 

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